So what it all comes down to, I think, is learning to live “in concert with” the Force.
Well, not the Force. The Spirit. It’s just that in our world, “the Force” makes more sense!
But the Spirit isn’t the Force. The Force is impersonal; the Spirit is the living God.
And we’re just crazy enough to believe Jesus, that he has come to live within us, by his Spirit. Or, if you like, by his “Breath” – in the Greek and in the Hebrew, the same word suffices for both.
When we come to trust Jesus enough to say we are his, he moves in, by his Holy Spirit, to live his life in us if we will let him.
And this is what “discipleship” is – learning to live alongside his life in us, in step with him, in concert with him.
I’ve read a lot of books about discipleship, about the nuts and bolts of setting up discipleship programs and discipleship team, but I feel like I just figured out what it is!
All the programs are about, are ways for us to pay attention, to lift our concentration from the pushes and pulls of our human self trying to survive in this world (aka, “the flesh), in order to hear from God about what is important today.
That’s what “spiritual disciplines” are – they are ways of quieting the mind and settling the appetites and ignoring the wants and fears and angers, long enough to encounter the still, small voice of God.
God very much cares about what we in our humanness want and need. It’s just that if our objective is just to answer the calls of our “flesh,” we won’t live in the power of who we really are, and we likely won’t even make our “survival selves” happy.
Humans are made to seek meaning – but not just meaning. We were made to live in companionship with God. There’s that talk in the Bible about us being made in God’s image. I don’t think that means we look like God; I think it means we have some of God’s characteristics, like love of beauty and a need to create and an urge to solve problems. It pleases God when we live in the fullness of those things, but he doesn’t want to just watch. He wants us in relationship with him, day by day.
And in that relationship (made available to us in Jesus), when the Spirit of God has come to live in us, we might start to see each day differently. If we are paying attention.
Suddenly interruptions might not be annoyances, they might be holy appointments. The person we share a bus seat with might get a prayer, even if they don’t know it. And the answer to a question we are pondering may come out of nowhere (well, it will just seem that way).
And the things that have driven us before – anger, shame, anxiety – these things start to get smaller because there are bigger things to be done. It is no longer so satisfying to be outraged every day, or to seek to control the bad things that might happen by pre-worrying about them. These are practices, too – but not spiritual ones.
Discipleship, then, is just helping one another along the way to adopt the kinds of practices that will help us hear God’s voice by his Spirit, encouragement to understand and believe what God has said, maybe a kick in the pants when we are indulging the “survival self” more than the Spirit in our lives. Discipleship involves the telling of stories, of success and falling down, so we can thank God together for the promise that he will never leave us alone.
I am learning. Interested in what others think….